Amazon will market a robot that can guard homes. This is a sci-fi gadget, according to Amazon, but it could be a worrying surveillance tool for its critics. The 'Astro robot was presented Tuesday by the US group as a significant breakthrough for security-conscious customers.
A tablet-equipped wheeled machine can map a home and respond to voice commands. It can recognize faces and learn the habits of household members. It is a small, lightweight, 60 cm tall and weighs less than 10kg. The US will initially sell it for 1,000 dollars, then they will add 1,450.
In a Tuesday video, Dave Limp, Vice President of Amazon, stated that Astro can be used to monitor your home while you are out and about. Astro can also be used to check the safety of nursing homes. Project member Limp Suri Maddhula exclaimed, "It's scifi come true!" in the same video.
Matthew Guariglia, an analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation which protects human rights online, stated that "in some situations, a surveillance camera such as this at home could be useful." He also points out that the device could be used as a Trojan horse by hackers and the police.
Limp attempted to dispel any misgivings at a news conference. Limp pointed out that users have the ability to block microphones and targets of the robot. If someone attempts to hack it, the robot emits sounds and messages. He stated that Amazon doesn't have remote access to Astro cameras and will therefore not be able "to give access to the police, or emergency services."
The Seattle group was criticised in 2019 after it emerged that its employees had been listening to recordings of conversations made by Alexa, the voice assistant of Amazon, to improve the system.
Amazon also sells the Ring brand of doorbells and integrated cameras, alarms for doors or windows. This is controversial because they were used by the public forces in the past.